A film buff who enjoys watching a range of different films from funny rom coms to intense thrillers.
For many, (myself included) Good Will Hunting it’s one of the best releases of the 1990s – which is saying something given the cinematic quality of the decade.
However, one thing to note about Good Will Hunting is that it helped to spawn a series of movies which have, over time, made a huge contribution to the cinematic world – often in ways that you would never have expected.
The film itself follows Will Hunting, played by Matt Damon. A genius in terms of his IQ, Hunting decides to work as a janitor at MIT. Instead of pushing himself to the highest level he can, he enjoys the solitude. However, when he’s spotted by Professor Gerald Lambeau in solving a graduate-level mathematics problem, he’s encouraged to further pursue his qualities as an intellect.
However, the movie takes an emotional turn when the socially uncomfortable Hunting lashes out at a police officer. It leads to a huge setback in his progress as a mastermind, but Lambeau steps in to try and help him get out of a serious situation. In return, he has to go and get treatment from a therapist in a bid to receive a call for leniency.
That is why so many people enjoy the movie. It’s an engrossing call and one that many people who are not the most socially comfortable will resonate with and enjoy. However, one problem will Good Will Hunting is that it often puts us in a mood to go and watch other movies like it. While few moves in this genre can keep up with Good Will Hunting in terms of overall quality, some great films out there exist which are similar enough to get your mind whirring.
Where, though, should you start?
Movies Like Good Will Hunting
- Finding Forrester
- Rain Man
- The Shawshank Redemption
- The Talented Mr. Ripley
- A Few Good Men
- Patch Adams
- A Beautiful Mind
- Jerry Maguire
While many films are similar to Good Will Hunting, it has a unicity that makes it hard to match up to. One place that we could recommend you start with, though, is that of Finding Forrester. The 2000 release by Gus van Sant is a fine example of what can be done with a powerful sporting story. It follows Jamal Wallace, who notices a boy watching them play basketball on a regular basis.
He tries to break into an apartment to steal something, but he’s found by the young boy who keeps seeing him, called William Forrester. Leaving his backpack behind, William starts to fill in his journal, and over the course of the film, Jamal becomes a better writer and a better person.
If you wish to keep on moving down the genius route, though, we cannot recommend a better place to start than 1988’s Rain Man. This movie is the story of Charlie Babbitt, who heads over to Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife, after his father dies. Charlie, though, is disappointed to learn that all they are receiving from his dad is his 1949 Buick Roadmaster.
The estate instead goes to someone called Raymond Babbitt; someone Charlie never even knew existed. Learning that he’s got an autistic brother, Charlie tries to get custody of Raymond for the cash. However, their brotherly bond grows over time and creates a much-watch story full of personal development and change.
Widely viewed as one of the best movies of all time, The Shawshank Redemption is one that just about anyone who loves movies can enjoy. it follows Andy Dufresne, who gets jailed for the murder of his wide and her lover. Despite claiming to be innocent, Dufresne is given a pair of life sentences. Inside, he makes friends with Ellis Boyd Redding, who can ‘get things’ on the inside.
The prison warden soon learns of Dufresne’s expertise with money, and gets him involved in his money laundering operation – without realising that he has set into motion a huge chain of events. A truly masterful watch, and one that we recommend any film fan takes the time to see.
An interesting tale for many people, 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley is a very interesting film for those who like a more engaging tale to follow. Watch along as om Ripley, a sociopath with a unique means of making a living, goes through life by stealing, forging, lying, and duplicating identities. He’s a genius in many ways, but an introduction to Herbert Greenleaf changes his life forever.
A trip to Italy to try and convince Herbert’s son, Tom, to come back home leads to all manner of madness and hijinks. A story about a brazen genius who uses his talents in the ways that we all wish we could!
While not 100% similar to Good Will Hunting, if you want a film that can absolutely absorb you from start to finish then look no further. A fine choice of movie for numerous reasons, this 1992 legal classic follows the story of a court martial of a pair of US Marines. They are charged with murder of a fellow marine, and the film takes into account their lawyers and how they work to try and find the best way to defend their clients.
It’s one of the most famous films of the 1990s, especially for one particular scene which, as soon as you see it, you will know you have witnessed it before.
This is a very interesting film, but be warned: don’t watch this if you struggle with films about health and illness. It’s a very engaging film and one that you should really want to watch if you enjoy semi-biographical films. While it’s a comedy, few films are more likely to leave you with wet eyes. it tells the story of Dr. Hunter Adams. While the doctor himself was never a big fan of the movie, it was a box office success.
In the movie, Adams is suicidal but finds that using humour over psychotherapy helps him to get over his own issues and thus becomes a doctor and starts helping his patients using a similar platform. A controversial film, but one that we recommend you add to your list if you like Good Will Hunting; a fine example of what more abstract minds can bring to the table.
Lastly, we recommend that you take the time to watch a popular movie from 2002 called A Beautiful Mind. This is a very popular movie, and one that is going to give you a fine example of what life can lead to for those who manage to reach their mind. Following the story of John Nash, a Nobel Prize winner, the story shows us how Nash struggled in early life.
Always looking to try out something new and to open up his mind and industry to new ideas, A Beautiful Mind shows us how paranoid schizophrenia makes it hard for Nash to achieve what his incredible mind and thinking could allow him to achieve: a truly spectacular watch that’s worth your time.
Released in 1990, Awakenings is a very popular US movie that is all about the tales of Oliver Sacks from his 1973 memoirs. Follow alongside Malcolm Sayer who discovers L-Dopa, a drug. He gives it to catatonic patients who survived the encephalitis lethergica endemic of 1917-1928. Patients are therefore awoken from a decades long slumber and have to get used to a new world totally unique from the one that they once knew.
It’s a story of development, discovery, and change. If you are looking for a film to watch that encourages you to think outside of the box and you want to enjoy a more unique kind of movie plot, this is definitely one to add to your list.
While the world of sports agency is often not one that people enjoy learning about, 1996 movie Jerry Maguire is a great comedy-drama to watch. It’s loosely based on the sports agent Leigh Steinberg, who actually was involved in consultation for the movie.
It shows us how the world of sports agency once operated, and it shows us how brilliant minds managed to change the entire sporting industry through their creativity and their ability to spot gaps in the market. An excellent film, and one you should absolutely make time to watch.
Lastly, we recommend that you take a look at 1998 movie Rounders. It follows the story of underground poker games, and follows a pair of friends in particular who need to win a high-stakes poker game to pay off their increasingly large debts. It’s a similar story to many such films, but it does have a great cult hit reputation.
It’s a great film and one that shows us the importance of making the right decisions in life and taking the right steps to improve who we are and who can become. By capturing the importance of self-development and improvement, it’s a movie that should chime well with you if you are a fan of movies that show us even those who make foolish decisions can recover. It’s another film about a great mind who realizes their mind could be used in more useful ways.
Let us know in the comments if you think we have missed out any other movies like Good Will Hunting that you think should definitely be included in this list. We have actually gone on to create an exclusive list of movies about geniuses (which actually includes Good Will hunting) and is well worth checking.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Harry Sheen